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MORE Science Fact and Fiction Behind Fat Loss

More Fact and Fiction

I was shocked by the huge response to my first post on the science behind weight loss, so much so that I wanted to do a second post in the series if you will. With all the fad diets, weight loss schemes, and superfoods I will have plenty to write about that is for sure.

Just like part one in the series, I’m first going to go over some of the science fiction in fat loss. I hate pseudoscience and so before I go on a rant about that let’s just jump right in.

The Myths

Gluten is making me fat. Now, not to be confused with people who actually have something called celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi [small finger like projections in the small intestine that help the body absorb nutrients more effectively] of the small intestine  An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. 

Pseudoscience peddlers have jumped on it and run, now gluten free diets are all the rage. For those people who have celiac that is good news, for the rest of us… why?! Gluten is a protein found in wheat, it is what gives most food it’s texture and holds things together.  It doesn’t have anything to do with fat loss and unless you have a legitimate medical condition this should most definitely not concern you. Not only that but gluten free foods will have more sugar and filler so it is not even remotely better for you. Need more, how about this link?

Soy based diets, for some reason or another people have started thinking that meat is bad. Personally I love my meats, but as pseudoscience has it, meat is horrible and killing you. In it’s place, soy. Soy being all natural and organic can’t be bad for you… except that it actually is fairly bad for you, especially in high amounts. Go on click the link, or this one, again I will wait. Bottom line — Soy, you should really avoid it, especially if you are female.

Then of course there are the even more mainstream diets, Jenny Craig, South beach, or weight watchers. Some are based on a “point” system. The big problem with all of these is that no one teaches you what or how to eat. They do the exact opposite, they try to teach you that if you buy their products you can eat whatever the hell you want… that is, as long as it’s their brand.

Weight watchers should be ashamed because they work on a points system, first life doesn’t work that way and neither does dieting. Typically people will end up starving themselves when they are trying weight watchers just to actually make their points. But again, none of them actually teach you what or how to eat. They just preach avoidance of processed garbage products, but try to convince you to buy their overly processed garbage products or shakes… bleh.

The Facts

I hate to sound like a broken record, but when you want to lose weight there are a few simple tricks to help you and you just need to avoid the pitfalls. Last post I talked about fiber, taking fiber prior to eating will help you not only to feel full, but it will also keep the insulin spike that comes with food consumption down. You can read my other post on the matter for more information about that.

But now I want to go over another option that people should think about. Normally you are told to eat small meals over the course of the day. As a former paid personal trainer, it was the way I used to think about it as well. That actually works great if you are doing the above fiber option too since you would be taking more fiber and lowering your blood sugar spikes by eating less, but more frequently.

As it turns out in certain cases this isn’t the best option. While I hate to extrapolate data for a specific group over the entire population, I do think that the findings of this study should be thought about before you buy into the 6 meals a day idea.

The positives to doing 2 large meals a day or even a third smaller dinner meal are definitely something to think about when you are planning your diet. If you are driven by a schedule and work more than you like to admit, two meals a day might actually be a better alternative [not to mention, something sustainable, as I mentioned in my last post on the subject].

Another thing to think about when dieting, this should go without saying, but lowering sugar intake is important. Despite what insoluble fiber does to lower insulin spikes, any successful diet should also include lowering sugar intake. New research suggests that this isn’t just good for your waistline, but also good for the heart.

Last post I also wrote something in passing, I said that for 99% of people, calorie counting will do the trick, especially if you are conservative with how many calories you are cutting and don’t try to lose 40 pounds in a week.

For those who are hardcore and want to be bodybuilders or figure models then you probably want to count your protein/carb/fat ratio, you can do that using free software online, there are literally hundreds of them but I recommend fitday because it’s easy use and because of all the extra features it has.

In fact, I recommend it for anyone who is looking to lose weight since keeping track of what you eat will, [in most cases] help you drop the weight without actually doing anything different, other than keeping track.

What kind of protein/carbohydrate/fat ratio should you shoot for if you are going to go that route– well a good starting point would be roughly 40/40/20. In other words 40% of your calories come from protein, 40% from carbohydrates and the other 20% from fat. Fitday will help you figure out just how to do that since I cannot, because you need a total amount of calories and a list of foods to figure out your ratios.

As always I hope that most [if not] all of you are looking to diet for the right reasons, wanting to be healthy is one thing. Doing it because you feel like you’re ugly or just want to fit in some random size, that is a whole other ball game. I really want to finish this post like I did the last one, the scale is just a number, how you feel about yourself is something else totally unrelated.

If  you are dieting because you are overweight and your health depends on it, that is one thing. If you are doing it because you don’t want your friends to make fun of you, or you want to get invited out, well then you need new friends and different places to hang out. The way you look should have no bearing on who you are as a person.

I apologize for all the sources, but feel free to dig through them. If you can’t find the information you wanted, or have other questions, as always feel free to just ask and I will do my best to get you the answer.

Hana Kahleova, Lenka Belinova, Hana Malinska, Olena Oliyarnyk,, Jaroslava Trnovska, Vojtech Skop, Ludmila Kazdova, Monika Dezortova,, & Milan Hajek, Andrea Tura, Martin Hill, Terezie Pelikanova (2014). Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more
effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen
for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study Diabetologia : 10.1007/s00125-014-3253-5

Te Morenga, L., Howatson, A., Jones, R., & Mann, J. (2014). Dietary sugars and cardiometabolic risk: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of the effects on blood pressure and lipids American Journal of Clinical Nutrition DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.081521

Lombardo, M., Bellia, A., Padua, E., Annino, G., Guglielmi, V., D’Adamo, M., Iellamo, F., & Sbraccia, P. (2014). Morning Meal More Efficient for Fat Loss in a 3-Month Lifestyle Intervention Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1-8 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2013.863169

Andersson DP, Eriksson Hogling D, Thorell A, Toft E, Qvisth V, Näslund E, Thörne A, Wirén M, Löfgren P, Hoffstedt J, Dahlman I, Mejhert N, Rydén M, Arner E, & Arner P (2014). Changes in Subcutaneous Fat Cell Volume and Insulin Sensitivity After Weight Loss. Diabetes care PMID: 24760260

Fletcher, G., Dawes, J., & Spano, M. (2014). The Potential Dangers of Using Rapid Weight Loss Techniques Strength and Conditioning Journal, 36 (2), 45-48 DOI: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000043

Lasikiewicz, N., Myrissa, K., Hoyland, A., & Lawton, C. (2014). Psychological benefits of weight loss following behavioural and/or dietary weight loss interventions. A systematic research review Appetite, 72, 123-137 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.09.017

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Science Fact and Fiction behind Fat Loss | Loony Labs

  2. Who Cares

    40/20/20 adds up to 80%
    What are the last 20% supposed to be composed of?


    May 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    • Oops, that was a typo, thanks for pointing that out. I have to go back and fix that. You want to start at 40/40/20. Roughly at least, then you can adjust accordingly based on your results. Just don’t drop your calories too low, keep in mind that you want to go slow when you are dieting, trying drop it all at once will end up doing more harm than good.


      May 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

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